Random Patterns And Artistic Inspiration (And A Fan Art Preview)

2016 Artwork Inspiration from random things article sketch

The afternoon before I wrote this article, I found a small amount of artistic inspiration in the most unlikely of places. In other words, I happened to see a mottled old piece of brown paper that I’d seen numerous times before. This is a piece of paper that is probably older than I am and time has given it a totally random pattern of pale beige, milky coffee and dark brown areas.

In a way, I guess that it’s kind of like the famous Rorschach test or like clouds in the sky, in that it serves as a mirror for the imagination and the subconscious, since the mind tries to make some sense of the random shapes.

As regular readers probably know, I’ve been going through yet another phase of playing the classic “Doom” games recently (when aren’t I?). So, when I looked at this familiar piece of mottled paper again – I saw something vaguely similar to the title screen art for the first two “Doom” games.

It was like this picture had been sitting in there all the time and I’d only discovered it. It was like some cool “Doom” fan art had been right in front of me the whole time and I’d only just noticed it.

Naturally, I grabbed my sketchbook and made a quick ink sketch of the mottled area in question – before turning it into something a bit more “Doom” like. Here are my first two sketches:

This is my very first sketch of the spots on the mottled paper.

This is my very first sketch of the spots on the mottled paper.

This was a slightly more detailed drawing that used a similar composition.

This was a slightly more detailed drawing that used a similar composition.

However, when it came to turning these sketches into an actual fan art painting, I ended up making a few changes. One of them was to cover up a mistake with drawing the monster in the bottom corner of the sketches and the other was because I thought that the picture looked too serious, so I decided to go in a slightly whimsical and more parodic direction. Here’s a detail from the finished painting:

The full painting will probably be posted here near the end of the month.

The full painting will probably be posted here near the end of the month.

The interesting thing about this old piece of paper – and with other things like wooden veneers on doors- is that this is hardly the first time that I’ve suddenly noticed a “hidden” picture. Although it’s probably the first time that I’ve actually bothered to sketch or remember it.

By far, the most interesting thing about finding a nebulous piece of “Doom” fan art hidden on a really old piece of paper was the composition of the image. It seemed a lot more dramatic than anything that I would have instantly thought of on my own.

But, of course, the mottling on the old piece of paper isn’t a piece of “Doom” fan art. It’s just a nebulous series of blobs that have been created by the randomness of time. If I wasn’t a fan of the old “Doom” games, then I’d have probably either seen something completely different or I’d have just seen a random series of blobs.

Still, as ways to get inspired go, there’s something to be said for looking at random naturally-occurring patterns. Yes, you probably won’t notice something every time and the best time for noticing things seems to be when you’re daydreaming and not really paying a huge amount of attention to anything.

But, as one of the many ways that you can find artistic inspiration, it’s worth remembering.


Sorry for the short article, but I hope that it was useful šŸ™‚


3 comments on “Random Patterns And Artistic Inspiration (And A Fan Art Preview)

  1. Amazing painting as always! šŸ™‚ May ask what you paint on (canvas something), what paints you use and what do you take pictures with? I am so sorry for all the questions, I am just really curious about how vibrant your paintings look on here šŸ™‚

    • pekoeblaze says:

      Thanks šŸ™‚ As for my materials, they are cheaper types of watercolour paper, waterproof ink pens, various watercolour pencils and a waterbrush. Then I digitise my paintings using an old scanner, before editing them with are MS Paint 5.1 and Paint Shop Pro 6 (they’re ancient, but awesome). Occasionally, I also use a free open-source program called GIMP 2.6 too.

      However, the “vibrant” look isn’t due to any specific materials or editing programs though, it’s achieved through a couple of simple traditional and digital techniques.

      The traditional techniques mostly involve including a high level of visual contrast between lighter and darker areas of the paintings (eg: most of my paintings are set in slightly gloomy locations, to emphasise the brighter areas of the picture).

      Likewise, choosing a complimentary colour palette (eg: orange and blue, purple and light green etc…) and/or using a couple of complimentary colour palettes can add to the “vivid” look too.

      Then, there are a couple of very basic digital image editing techniques – the most basic way to give a painting a more vibrant look is use the “brightness/contrast” feature (most image editing programs have this) to lower the brightness levels and increase the contrast levels. Messing around with the colour saturation levels can sometimes be useful too (again, this can be done in most image editing programs).

      • Thank you so much for such a thoughtful and detailed reply! šŸ™‚ I seriously think you are a genius with the level of work and thought that goes into each of your paintings!

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